U.S. universities and research institutions earned $2.5 billion from their patented technologies and spun out 671 new startups in fiscal year 2011 — that’s a 21 percent increase in startups from five years ago.
New numbers from the Association of University Technology Managers, which released a (PDF) summary of its 2011 Licensing Activity Survey this week, show “very strong” licensing and startup activity despite difficult economic conditions. A total of 157 universities responded to the annual survey.
The University of California led the way for startups, spinning out 58 new companies, followed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology with 25. Northwestern University brought in the most licensing income, earning more than $191.5 million from its technologies. (See Inside Higher Ed’s chart of all reporting universities here.)
Although the detailed report won’t be issued until later this year, AUTM gave us a few numbers to chew on until then:
- More than 13,000 new patent applications were filed by these 157 universities and institutions — that’s 11 percent more than the previous year.
- Universities and institutions spent $61 billion on research — $40 billion of it federally funded and $4 billion industry sponsored.
- Alarmingly, the number of new commercial products created in fiscal year 2011 dropped 10 percent.
- Total royalties earned increased 5 percent and other sources of income remained flat.
- At $1.5 billion, licensing income was up 2.6 percent from the previous year.
- Seven percent more-established startups remained in business at the end of the year than in fiscal year 2010.
For the most part, this sounds like more signs of hope for university tech transfer.